Top 10 Last Words By Famous Musicians

Categories: Lists, Miles-tones

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Musicians tend to be a mouthy lot. It takes a certain kind of soul to want and express your own inner world to the outer world at large. So when the time comes for them to shuffle off this mortal coil, they often have some very interesting exit lines...

10. Ludwig Van Beethoven, "Friends applaud, the comedy is finished."

Exactly what killed the composer of the most pop-oriented classical music of all time in 1827 is up for debate. Heavy liver damage showed that he might have set the standard for many rock stars to follow by drinking himself to death. His last words are not just poetry by a master lyricist. They are the traditional ending to performances of the commedia dell'arte, a now-extinct form of semi-improvisational theatre from which many classic operas drew their inspiration.

However, like his cause of death, Beethoven's last words are disputed. One biographer claims that the deaf composer's final statement was, "I shall hear in Heaven."

9. Frederic Chopin, "The earth is suffocating... Swear to make them cut me open, so that I won't be buried alive."

Ah, Freddy. The original emo-kid musician. He bit it in 1849 from the poetical disease of tuberculosis after a very satisfying career penning nocturnes. Like many people of the 1800s, Chopin had a pathological fear of being buried alive. It wasn't too unreasonable a phobia. In 1905 the English reformer William Tebb collected accounts of premature burial and found 219 cases of near-live burial, 149 actual live burials, ten cases of live dissection and two cases of awakening while being embalmed.

So it did happen, although fairly infrequently when stacked up against all the people who died. Chopin's fear was so great that he instructed his sister to remove his heart after death, embalm it, and take it to be buried in Warsaw.

8. Harry "Bing" Crosby, "That was a great game of golf, fellers."

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When Bing Crosby wasn't busy advocating pot over alcohol and allegedly beating around his kids, he was putting out some of the greatest recordings of Christmas music ever (until Twisted Sister, of course). His mash-up of "Peace on Earth" and "The Little Drummer Boy" with David Bowie on Crosby's 1977 Christmas TV special has become an annual holiday staple. Later that year, Crosby, against his doctor's recommendation to cut his game down to nine holes, played an 18-hole round of golf in Madrid, and died of a heart attack immediately after he and his Spanish partner finished whipping their opponents.

7. Kurt Cobain, "It's better to burn out than to fade away."

With any suicide note more than a few sentences long, the actual "last words" are kind of subjective. Cobain's final summation addressed to his childhood imaginary friend Boddah goes on for quite a bit, but it's hard to argue that the above statement adequately summed up the gist of what Cobain felt when he ended his life in 1994 (on Rocks Off's 13th birthday). Tired of fame, unable to kick heroin and in terrible pain from a stomach condition, the patron saint of grunge had simply been dealt more than he could handle, and the voice of a generation was silenced.

6. Terry Kath (Chicago), "Don't worry, it's not loaded."

Yes, it was. The original Chicago guitarist died playing Russian Roulette at Don Johnson's home in 1978.


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